Ellen G. White (1827–1915) is undoubtedly the most influential Seventh-day Adventist ever. Her prophetic guidance informed the formation and later development of the church. After her death on July 16, 1915, White’s writings continued to “provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction.”1 Today she is one of the most translated female writers in the entire history of literature and “the most translated American author of either gender.”2
We are approaching the centennial of her death, and many
people are asking what the church is planning to do in 2015
in regards to her prophetic legacy. This article highlights a
few endeavors at the global, regional, and local levels. All
such efforts are aimed at strengthening our confidence in
and commitment to God’s prophetic guidance in these last
days of human history.
Next year’s activities will focus not so much on Ellen G.
White herself, but on the blessings her writings have brought
to our church corporately and to us individually for more
than 100 years. In other words, the emphasis is more on the
message than on the messenger.
Many significant publications, releases, and projects are
being planned and developed for the benefit of the worldwide
church. Already we have seen the publication of the 1,465-
page The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia3
and the 986-page
Ellen G. White Letters & Manuscripts with Annotations,
Volume 1: 1845-1859.
Publications by Ellen G. White are
now available online in more than 50 languages.5
The main Ellen G. White Estate Web site (www.ellenwhite.
org) hosts the document “The Ellen G. White Estate
Announces Plans for 2015 Centennial Commemoration of
Ellen White’s Life and Ministry.”6
This document mentions,
for example, the plan to publish online in 2015 all of Ellen
White’s letters and manuscripts, as well as some of the most
significant correspondence she received from other church
members and leaders.
At the 2015 General Conference Session in San Antonio,
Texas, a special centennial commemoration program will
take place on July 10, the last Friday evening of that assembly. Also, a major academic symposium on “The Gift
of Prophecy in Scripture and History” will occur at Andrews
University on October 15-18, 2015 with attendees from
around the world.
Our church is an international denomination with a presence in more than 200 countries, each with its own needs and challenges. Sensitive to the condition of their own territories, several of the church’s organizational divisions, unions, and local conferences/missions are developing specific plans for 2015 to promote Ellen G. White’s writings more effectively within their local fields.
For a low price, some divisions are planning to distribute
either the 10-volume “Connecting with Jesus“ set (see www.
connectingwithjesus.org) or a new set of Ellen G. White’s
books. Several fields are working with their respective
publishing houses to translate and publish specific Ellen
White titles not yet available in their own languages. In
various places of the world, audio versions of her books are
being made accessible for illiterate populations.
Many Adventist universities and colleges worldwide
are planning special events for 2015. Those events may
include academic symposiums, weeks of prayer, roundtable
discussions, student contests, dramatizations, etc.
Held in academic settings, such events aim to engage as
many faculty members and students as possible. The main
purpose is to strengthen the Adventist identity of the new
A few divisions have decided to promote the establishment
of Ellen G. White Mini-Centers at local Adventist schools
and churches in their territories.7
Although most of Ellen G.
White’s writings are now available online, the Mini-Centers
can still provide an excellent opportunity for people to come
together to study the Bible and the writings of Ellen G. White
and to research local Adventist history. As a result, those
places will become centers of Adventist culture.
Several supportive strategies and plans for 2015 are being
developed at various levels of the church’s organizational structure. But for them to become truly effective, they must
have a positive impact on our local churches, our families,
and our own lives. So, the crucial question is: What can be
done at the local level to make 2015 a real blessing for all
There are many things that local churches can do.
For example, the preaching calendar could include some
sermons and perhaps even a week of prayer based on the
nature and purpose of the gift of prophecy. Youth programs
could feature some dramatizations of specific aspects of
Ellen G. White’s life and ministry. If the church has an active
Ellen G. White Mini-Center, it could promote seminars on the
Spirit of Prophecy, followed by round-table discussions.
Creative ideas can also be implemented within the home
circle. I once met an Adventist couple who, after giving many
toys and other presents to their children, decided to build a
personal Ellen White library for each family member. At the
evening family worships, they read and discussed together
the content of a specific book, each person with his or her
copy that could be marked. This would be a good model to
follow in 2015!
Regardless of what will take place in our local churches
and in our homes, we should develop a personal plan in
2015 for reading and studying the Bible and the writings of
Ellen G. White. Some may even decide to combine them into
a single reading plan. Whatever the plan might be, we need
to set apart a daily devotional time. As somebody once said,
“not to have time for God means to live a time-wasted life.”
In 2015, we should avoid the extremes of venerating
Ellen G. White or simply ignoring her. We should always
remember that her writings are not an end in themselves;
rather, they are a valuable resource to bring us closer to
Christ and the Scriptures.
1 Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, 18th ed. (Silver Spring, MD: General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 2010), 162.
2 Arthur L. White, “Ellen G. White: A Brief Biography,” in www.whiteestate.org/about/egwbio.asp#who (accessed on June 13, 2014).
3 The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia, Denis Fortin and Jerry Moon, eds. (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 2013).
4 The Ellen G. White Letters & Manuscripts with Annotations, Volume 1: 1845-1859, Timothy L. Poirier, ed. (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 2014).
5 See www.egwwritings.org
Details about the Ellen G. White Mini-Center Project are available at
Alberto R. Timm is an Associate Director of the Ellen G. White